Phone differences

Today, Microsoft very generously loaned us an HTC Trophy phone for the weekend. This is the phone that has received the lion share of the bug reports with Wordament, so we really wanted to get to the bottom of this. On the engineering team we only have Samsung Focus devices, but we thought that the “Windows Phone 7 chassis specification” basically ensured a level of consistency across every Windows Phone 7 device. For the most part it does. But, even with just a few minutes of playing with the Trophy, we’ve seen some really interesting differences from the Focus. Our snap takeaway was: we need to have a few more test models on the team because there ARE subtle, but important differences across phone models.

Here’s what we’ve heard from many of you with the Trophy:

  • The phone gets very hot within a few games
  • The battery drains very quickly
  • The touch response isn’t great
  • There are noticeable network hangs at several points during the game, particularly at the 1:00 mark
  • After the latest change, “green is unplayable”

We intend to get to the bottom of these. We care A LOT about your experience and making this game great on this platform. Of all of the issues above, the last one (about the green) was the strangest and hardest to believe. But now, having seen a Trophy, we understand it: it’s the screen tech.

The Samsung Focus has a screen called “Super AMOLED” – it’s basically a display driven by a set of special chemicals that emit light under voltage. The tech is super cool and originated with the same chemicals that make fireflies light up. The Trophy (and a few other models) have a backlit LCD screen. We didn’t expect as much difference in image quality as we saw. We are now investigating the following visual issues:

  • It appears that the accent colors on LCD-based devices are different than on AMOLED devices. In our latest update, we color matched by comparing your theme’s accent color against some hardcoded values (from the Focus). Whoops! It turns out that doesn’t work because the color codes on the Trophy are different than the Focus. One consequence of this is that our Start screen doesn’t show your name in some theme combinations (if you have an HTC Trophy, try the Dark Red theme).
  • The “Correct” word green is almost impossible to see – it looks white – we will pick a more visible color that works on both screen technologies.
  • In our most recent 1.4 update, we chose to follow the Windows Phone 7 “Metro” design guidelines even closer, and go with “white text on accent colored background” in the Light theme. We now understand that fifth issue above: it’s impossible to see on the Lime theme.

So, OK, shame on us. We need to own some extra phones. We are going to use our loaner this weekend and acquire at least a Trophy this coming week. We had no idea that the difference would be this significant.  But, we aren’t going to leave you hanging. We are going to get to the bottom of all of these issues and release another update in the coming weeks.

If you know of other issues that are bugging you, please let us know! We’d prefer them in email at wordament@live.com. Thanks for your interest and thanks for playing!

— Black Snapper

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About Wordament

Wordament is a fun and addictive word game from You vs. the Internet, a Microsoft Studio.
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12 Responses to Phone differences

  1. jcallahan says:

    Some good information for other developers to be aware of as well. Thanks for the post and thanks for the high level of commitment to your app. It shows.

  2. Andreas Sihombing says:

    The first four problems also found on my Omnia 7. Lag (touch response) issue can be resolved by rebooting the phone, but usually after ten or more games it started lagging again. The fourth problem has been fixed by 1.4 update.
    I play the games (6066 so far) mostly with WIFI connection (possibly the cause of the heat).

    I enjoy Wordament so much, so I hope it will be improved soon.

  3. ngfamilyone says:

    Hey guys I think wordament is down again. I keep getting the internet connectivity error and then the game exits itself.

  4. Pat B. says:

    Please also note, most of these problems, especially the phone getting very hot and screen hangs during swiping and after a game (when transitioning to the frenemies board) are plaguing the HTC Arrive (Sprint) also. I’ve been a fan of Wordament since getting my Arrive, but have noticed these issues as well. The phone also does seem to drain the battery very quickly when playing Wordament, consistent with the Trophy.

  5. Pat B. says:

    Oh yes…P.S….it would be cool to add the ability to change your screen name, and to have another longer time option for extended play. Seems 2 minutes just isn’t long enough. I see many more words I want to swipe but just can’t physically swipe any faster…

    • Wordament says:

      Hi Pat,

      Thanks for the comments and suggestions. If you want to do a one-time screen name change, contact us as wordament@live.com with your new, desired screen name, and I can update it for you. If you want to change it frequently, then that’s a different feature. We’ve added that one to our list.

  6. HabagoodDay says:

    I have a HTC from AT&T. I also notice the device getting very hot after a few plays. My battery life is very poor when playing. My wife has a Focus and her battery life is also poor when playing. We both love the game and enjoy it. Suggestion, how about using a panoramic to allow the user to flick between the beginning screen and the other 2 after play? Great work!

    • Wordament says:

      Thanks for the comments! We’ve definitely found the HTCs to burn through their batteries and heat up much more than the Samsung. We now have two in house HTC models and both exhibit this behavior. The Focus only exhibits the heat up for us on 3G. On WiFi, it always runs cool. Is that not your experience with the Focus?

  7. BlueCloud says:

    There is a lag on the HTC Arrive at the 1:00 mark too, maybe this is related to the CDMA tech used in the Trophy too?

    Also, the screen response seems to have gotten pretty bad on the Arrive from the past few weeks. The colors seem alright to me.

    • Wordament says:

      Do you have our newest update from the Marketplace? That should fix the 1:00 mark issue. Please let us know if it doesn’t. Alternatively, you can start Wordament and go to the More and About Wordament screens. If the version number is less than 1008, then there is a newer version available. We are hard at work on the screen response problem too.

  8. bluraybha says:

    I have no problems on my HD2 with wp7 on it. Identical to HD7 you see!

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